“I was too badly burned…I’ll never do that again.” Many of the old norms and assumptions about power exchange relationships seem custom designed mask massive insecurity, defense mechanisms, and codependence. For some of us, character or upbringing has made a normal egalitarian relationship difficult, undesirable, or even impossible. Often we focus on “staying away” from “abusive” power exchange relationships but many relationships carry the seeds of unhealthy behaviors, and turn bad as unprepared people stumble unintentionally into pitfalls. If we followed all the safety warnings, many power exchange relationships would never happen. We’ll focus on the technical aspects of how bad relationships form and the personal characteristics such as PTSD, denial, and repression, that work to create them.